In the last week Wetherspoons announced that they will be banning single-use plastic straws from 900 of their establishments across the UK and Ireland, preventing approximately 70 million straws entering the environment every year!
This move is not simply good news. It is fantastic news; that such a prominent and popular brand can acknowledge AND act upon the devastating issue that is plastic pollution.
In the transition phase no plastic straws will be handed out unless the customer asks for one (I assume I am not the only one that gets wound up when somebody plonks a straw in my cup when I didn’t ask for it!); so, it’s up to you guys now….do not be that person.
One of the biggest issues with plastic pollution
I speak about plastic pollution a lot (< for more info), and there are many people who either get fed up of hearing about it or are not interested – I don’t doubt it. Conservationists tackle serious obstacles every day, but one of the largest is the attitude of the public. How do you engage the people who aren’t interested? How do you motivate the people who feel overwhelmed?
I don’t have the answer. I learnt a lot from the conservation optimism conference, but I still don’t have the answer. What I will say is that, yes, many sustainable products are more expensive, but they’re a one time investment. Logic surely tells us that, in the long term, it’s the cheaper option….no?
All we can do is raise awareness, show the public that we can make a difference (which we honestly can), and provide advice on making sustainable changes. And, today, that is what I am going to do.
The Ethical Straw Co.
The Ethical Straw Co was founded by an Australian family who experienced plastic pollution when on holiday in Bali. The family were able to see the contrast in attitudes towards plastic; many western-owned cafes and bars in Bali are actively reducing their impact by seeking alternatives, which, unfortunately, is a much less common sight in Australia.
Kathleen (left) – business manager, Alex (middle) – creative director, and Samantha (right) – ordering, sourcing, and pricing decided to launch the company in response to what they had seen along Bali’s coastlines.
Their solution – stainless steel straws.
These ladies were kind enough to support my journey towards a waste free life by sending me two straws and two accompanying brushes. The straws are actually really lightweight, which is a plus – they are sleek, robust, and ten times more attractive in a cocktail than crappy plastic straws!
The impact of plastic straws on the environment, particularly marine life, is common knowledge. Those who aren’t aware are living under a rock (to be perfectly blunt). I’ve mentioned before that there really isn’t a place for straws in today’s society; we are more than capable of drinking without them and, according to these mothers, so are children. They serve little purpose other than to look good on your Instagram page and safeguard your lippy.
BUT, I must accept that we cannot hope to convert everybody overnight. Businesses should be following the example that Wetherspoons have set, and should be looking to replace plastic straws with biodegradable alternatives.
But really….the responsibility lies with us – the consumer. We understand the issue and we can take action. Take a stand and refuse the plastic straw that is offered to you. It’s as simple as that. The best thing about The Ethical Straw Co’s straws is that they will fit seamlessly in your clutch or purse without taking up room.